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The Golden Age of British Short Stories Reviews

The Golden Age of British Short Stories by Philip Hensher

The Golden Age of British Short Stories 1890-1914

Philip Hensher

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1 review

Imprint: Penguin Classics
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 1 Oct 2020
ISBN: 9780141992204

The quarter century or so before the outbreak of the First World War saw an extraordinary boom in the popularity and quality of short stories in Britain.

4 stars out of 5
Peter Kemp
27 Sep 2020

"This fine anthology celebrates one of the richest moments in Britain’s literary history"

Hensher’s excellent introduction emphasises how higher literacy rates and lower magazine prices helped to foster the heyday of the short story. In keeping with this burgeoning passion for print, thrills and ills of the literary life are much in evidence. From a newsroom full of half-naked compositors in sweltering pre-monsoon Lahore to a Henry James country-house weekend at which a novelist and his reviewer meet, the pagesteem with authors, journalists, poets, connoisseurs of first editions, and truanting schoolboys acting out Wild West adventures from the Halfpenny Marvel. In an entertaining and ingenious piece by Barry Pain, “a literary idea” searches for a brain to be born in — that of an impecunious hack, who cobbles up “paragraphs” about high society for down-market periodicals, or an affluent upper-class author.